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Flying Dutch Top Wheaton, Advance In NCAA D-III Tournament

The Hope College women's tennis team swept singles play to claim a 5-2 win against Wheaton (Ill.) College on Thursday in the NCAA Division III Tournament.

The Flying Dutch improved to 17-5 overall after earning a second-round matchup with eighth-ranked Carnegie Mellon (Pa.).

Friday's match at the University of Chicago begins at 10 a.m. Central time. The winner advances to Saturday's regional final at noon Central time.

Against Wheaton, Hope secured the win by winning the first four singles flights completed.

Freshman Nancy Benda of Birmingham, Michigan (Seaholm HS), pictured at right, clinched the match by defeating Wheaton's Sarah Ray 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1 singles.

Other singles winners for Hope were sophomore Claire Cooper of Williamston, Michigan (Williamston HS) at No. 2, junior Carli Capestany of Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville HS), at No. 3 and sophomore Anna Garcia of Battle Creek, Michigan (Lakeview HS), at No. 6.

The Flying Dutch's point from doubles play came from the No. 3 team of senior Stephanie Huffman of Grand Rapids, Michigan (Forest Hills Eastern HS), and freshman Paige Courts of Caledonia, Michigan (Grand Rapids South Christian HS).

Hope coach Adam Ford said the Flying Dutch rebounded quickly after getting off to a slow start.

"Wheaton was ready to play. They're a very good team," Ford said. "After doubles, we calmed down and regained our focus. We just kind of rolled with it.

"This is a huge step for us. We've got a great opportunity tomorrow."

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